EP2089120B1 - Apparatus for carrying out protocol-based isometric exercise regimen - Google Patents

Apparatus for carrying out protocol-based isometric exercise regimen Download PDF

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Publication number
EP2089120B1
EP2089120B1 EP07862541.5A EP07862541A EP2089120B1 EP 2089120 B1 EP2089120 B1 EP 2089120B1 EP 07862541 A EP07862541 A EP 07862541A EP 2089120 B1 EP2089120 B1 EP 2089120B1
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EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
apparatus
member
force
exercise apparatus
flexible member
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Fee Related
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EP07862541.5A
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP2089120A2 (en
EP2089120A4 (en
Inventor
William E. Clem
Richard Rae Clem
Thomas J. Wernikowski
Joachim Eldring
Nathaniel Longstreet
Steven Wood
Seth Huckstead
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Zona Health Inc
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Zona Health Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US11/634,834 priority Critical patent/US7699757B2/en
Application filed by Zona Health Inc filed Critical Zona Health Inc
Priority to PCT/US2007/024903 priority patent/WO2008070114A2/en
Publication of EP2089120A2 publication Critical patent/EP2089120A2/en
Publication of EP2089120A4 publication Critical patent/EP2089120A4/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP2089120B1 publication Critical patent/EP2089120B1/en
Application status is Expired - Fee Related legal-status Critical
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/002Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices isometric or isokinetic, i.e. substantial force variation without substantial muscle motion or wherein the speed of the motion is independent of the force applied by the user
    • A63B21/0023Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices isometric or isokinetic, i.e. substantial force variation without substantial muscle motion or wherein the speed of the motion is independent of the force applied by the user for isometric exercising, i.e. substantial force variation without substantial muscle motion
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/0004Exercising devices moving as a whole during exercise
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B23/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body
    • A63B23/035Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for limbs, i.e. upper or lower limbs, e.g. simultaneously
    • A63B23/12Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for limbs, i.e. upper or lower limbs, e.g. simultaneously for upper limbs or related muscles, e.g. chest, upper back or shoulder muscles
    • A63B23/16Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for limbs, i.e. upper or lower limbs, e.g. simultaneously for upper limbs or related muscles, e.g. chest, upper back or shoulder muscles for hands or fingers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B71/0619Displays, user interfaces and indicating devices, specially adapted for sport equipment, e.g. display mounted on treadmills
    • A63B71/0622Visual, audio or audio-visual systems for entertaining, instructing or motivating the user
    • A63B2071/0625Emitting sound, noise or music
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B71/0619Displays, user interfaces and indicating devices, specially adapted for sport equipment, e.g. display mounted on treadmills
    • A63B2071/0655Tactile feedback
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/02Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices using resilient force-resisters
    • A63B21/05Linearly-compressed elements
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/50Force related parameters
    • A63B2220/51Force
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • A63B2220/83Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor characterised by the position of the sensor
    • A63B2220/833Sensors arranged on the exercise apparatus or sports implement
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B23/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body
    • A63B23/035Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for limbs, i.e. upper or lower limbs, e.g. simultaneously
    • A63B23/03508For a single arm or leg

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to the field of cardiovascular health and more particularly to an apparatus for safely reducing the resting blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic pressures) of humans, especially hypertensive humans, modulating the autonomic nervous system and generally improving cardio vascular health in humans.
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,398,696 to Wiley (the '696 patent) discloses a protocol or method for lowering the resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures of patients. This protocol commences with a determination of the maximal isometric force which can be exerted by a patient with any given muscle (e.g., skeletal muscle or group of muscles) of such patient. The determined maximal isometric force is recorded. The patient, then, is periodically permitted to intermittently engage in isometric contraction of the given muscle at a fractional level (e.g., up to about 60%) of the maximal force determined for a given contraction duration followed by a given resting duration. A perceptible indicia correlative to an output signal generated in response to isometric force exerted by the given muscle is displayed to the patient so that the patient can sustain the given fractional level of maximal force. The perceptible indicia can comprise of a visual display, an audio signal, or a tactile signal for example. The tactile signal may comprise of a vibration and a feedback force.
  • The '696 patent further discloses an apparatus for use by a patient in carrying out the foregoing protocol. This apparatus includes the dynamometer for a patient to activate with a given muscle (e.g., skeletal muscle or group of muscles). A memory is connected to the dynamometer for recording the maximal isometric force which can be exerted by the patient with any given muscle of that patient. A display is connected to the dynamometer and to the memory for displaying percentages of the recorded maximal isometric force when the patient activates the dynamometer with the given muscle. A timer is provided for the patient to ascertain the duration over which the given muscle exerts isometric force through the dynamometer and the duration between exertions. The '696 patent is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,904,639 to Smyser (the '639 patent) discloses a protocol-configurable isometric hand grip recording dynamometer with user guidance. The apparatus employs a grip within which is mounted a load cell. The load cell, in turn, is coupled to a rigid printed circuit board which is compressively squeezed during an exercise regimen. A readout is integrally formed with the battery operated system to provide aural and visual cuing at an angle facilitating the user's reading of a display. Visual cues are provided at the display throughout an exercise regimen prompting the user as to which hand to use and the amount of compressive squeezing force to be applied. The system and method includes a technique for scoring the efforts of the user. The microprocessor-driven device includes archival memory and a data communications port that may be employed interactively with a trainer or physician.
  • DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
  • The present invention as defined by claim 1 relates to a compact, lightweight, hand-held, battery powered, isometric exercise apparatus which exhibits a structural configuration enabling it to be subjected to loads induced by the isometric contraction of a muscle or muscle group. The apparatus comprises a system where contraction of a muscle or muscle group causes a measurable indicia to the force measuring component, which then communicates the measured force to the control system which uses said force to provide performance information to the user. More specifically, the apparatus is designed to allow natural resistance to force, reducing strain, and increasing the total area of skin surface which is compressed during use. The design allows greater user comfort during the performance of isometric exercise. Additionally, the apparatus is designed to communicate the exercise parameters and other pertinent related data to remote devices such as stand alone computers, personal digital assistants, laptops, servers, and routers, as examples.
  • Extending from the handle or grip is a display, with a power button juxtaposed to the display. The display is mounted such that the user can observe visual cues while carrying out an isometric exercise protocol. Further, the display provides a menu of options of exercise regimens that a user can select at the beginning of each use of the apparatus. The control system incorporated within the apparatus is processor driven and is capable of recording the maximum isometric squeeze force (MSF) exerted by a user, as well as other user data necessary for guiding the user in performance of isometric exercise. The display displays the percentage of the recorded MSF the user is to exert during the exercise regimen (the fractional force). A clock is provided for the user to ascertain the amount of time the user is to hold the fractional force and the duration between exertions. The amount of time available for an exercise can be inputted.
  • The system and method associated with the preferred embodiment of the apparatus provide visual and audible cues to the user and additionally, through the utilization of a scoring technique, provide user performance data for training or exercise management purposes. Visual cues not only guide the user through a multi-step protocol designed to lower blood pressure levels, but also aid the user in maintaining set target isometric contraction levels. For instance, during an exercise regimen, the display indicates the target force desired. When the handle or grip is squeezed either below the target force or beyond the target force, the user is provided with an aural and/or visual warning. Further, when the user exerts a maximum squeeze force (MSF), the display gives the user visual information as to the relative value of such MSF. The apparatus may also be custom programmed for individual users who choose either a set time period for an exercise regimen or a defined level of exertion, i.e., a set fractional amount of the MSF, for an exercise regimen. The apparatus may also be used as a form of physical therapy or group of physical therapies (i.e., variable therapies and variable forces). According to a preferred embodiment, the apparatus of the present invention is generally programmed to carry out an exercise regimen that lowers the resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures of users.
  • The present disclosure is also directed to a method for lowering the resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures of users as well as providing a protocol for increasing parasympathetic nerve activity and improving peripheral artery function. The protocol also adds to a person's nitric oxide production.
  • This method begins with a determination of the maximal isometric squeeze force (MSF) which can be exerted by the user with any given muscle, preferably the hand muscles. The MSF is recorded. The user is then periodically asked to intermittently engage in isometric contraction of the given muscle at a fractional level, from about 15% to about 55%, of the MSF for a given contraction duration (T) followed by a given resting duration (RSF). According to a preferred embodiment, the RSF is zero. According to another embodiment, the RSF is not zero. A perceptible indicia correlative to an output signal generated in response to an isometric force exerted by the given muscle is displayed to the user so that the user can sustain the given fractional level of maximal force for the desired duration (T). This method may also allow for the dynamic change of the MSF, FSF, RSF, or T during a performance of an exercise.
  • A representative procedure for a user to follow includes the user exerting a squeezing force with either hand equal to about 30% of the MSF and holding that about 30% force for two minutes; resting for one minute with an RSF of zero; exerting a force with the other hand equal to about 30% of the MSF for two minutes; resting one minute with an RSF of zero; exerting a force of about 30% of maximum for two minutes again with the first hand; resting one minute with an RSF of zero; and exerting a force of about 30% for two minutes again with the second hand. This completes the isometric exercise for that day. The same procedure should be followed by the user patient at least three days per week.
  • Advantages of the present invention include recognition that isometric exercise is an effective means for a patient to lower both resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Another advantage of the present invention is that lowering resting blood pressure can be achieved utilizing isometric contractions far short of maximal force. Isometric contractions at maximum force could cause blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels, especially in hypertensive patients. Yet another advantage is an isometric exercise regimen that takes but a few minutes a day and yet is effective in lowering the user's resting blood pressure. A further advantage is an apparatus which has been designed to implement the isometric exercise regimen disclosed herein.
  • There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described further hereinafter.
  • In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
  • As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may be readily utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention.
  • For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the aims attained by its uses, references should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
    • FIG. 1a is a perspective view of the apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;
    • FIG. 1b is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 3a is a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 3b is a sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 3a taken along line 3b-3b;
    • FIG. 4a is a back view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 4b is a sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 4a taken along line 4b-4b;
    • FIG. 5a is a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 5b is a sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 5a taken along line 5b-5b;
    • FIG. 5c is an enlargement of detail 5c of FIG. 5b;
    • FIG. 6a is a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 6b is a sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 6a taken along line 6b-6b;
    • FIG. 6c is an enlargement of detail 6c of FIG. 6b;
    • FIG. 7a is a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 7b is a sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 7a taken along line 7b-7b;
    • FIG. 7c is an enlargement of detail 7c of FIG. 7b;
    • FIG. 8 is a block diagram of the hardware employed with the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing a procedure employed by the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing an exercise regimen carried out by the apparatus of FIG. 1a;
    • FIG. 11a is a graph displaying the force applied to the apparatus of FIG. 1a pursuant to an exercise regimen;
    • FIG. 11b is a graph displaying the force applied to the apparatus of FIG. 1a pursuant to an exercise regimen wherein the force is variable; and
    • FIG. 12 is a schematic of the force transfers.
    MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
  • FIG. 1a is a perspective view of the apparatus 100 according to a preferred embodiment of the invention. As seen in FIG. 1a, the apparatus 100 includes a display 101, a power button 102, a front fixed member 103, and a back movable member 104. The back movable member 104 can move laterally, longitudinally, vertically, and in a rotational movement. FIG. 1b is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a, and shows the detail of the mechanics of the back movable member 104. The front fixed member 103 or back movable member 104 can be a rubberized surface and configured to minimize point pressure on a user's hand. As seen in FIG. 1b, the back movable member 104 is connected to the apparatus 100 by means of three flexible members 105, 106 and 107, an upper flexible member 105, a center flexible member 106 and a lower flexible member 107. According to a preferred embodiment, the flexible members 105, 106 and 107 may be elastic polymers in the nature of bumpers. However, the flexible member(s) 105, 106 and 107 can be any compressible member being one of an elastic polymer, a spring, an air bladder and an encapsulated fluid.
  • The center flexible member 106 is preferably provided with a sleeve 108 as seen in FIG. 1b, which functions to translate a multiaxial force, as may be applied to the back movable member 104 when a rotated grip is applied to the apparatus 100, into a uniaxial force. Although the sleeve 108 may not translate such force with complete accuracy, the sleeve 108 also helps minimize other possible transfer losses that can occur when the center flexible member 106 expands (widens) under load. The sleeve 108 further provides a hard surface for connecting the force applied to the back movable member 104 to the sensor 109 in the apparatus 100. According to a preferred embodiment, the sleeve 108 is a metal sleeve. FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a and shows the detail of the mechanics of the front fixed member 103.
  • FIG. 3a is a side view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a and FIG. 3b is a sectional view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 3a taken along line 3b-3b. As can be seen from FIG. 3b, the center flexible member 106 of the apparatus 100 is encased by the sleeve 108. The back movable member 104 is further comprised of a soft shell 110 and a rigid core 111, as illustrated in FIG. 3b.
  • FIG. 4a is a back view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a and FIG. 4b is a sectional view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 4a taken along line 4b-4b. FIG. 4b also shows the soft shell 110 and rigid core 111 of the back movable member 104.
  • FIG. 5a is a side view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a and FIG. 5b is a sectional view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 5a taken along line 5b-5b, i.e., intersecting the lower flexible member 107. FIG. 5c is an enlargement of detail 5c of FIG. 5b and shows the lower snaps (both right 112a and left 112b) in the relief position, i.e., when no squeeze force is applied to the apparatus 100 and the back movable member 104 is in a resting position.
  • FIG. 6a is a side view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a and FIG. 6b is a sectional view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 6a taken along line 6b-6b, i.e., intersecting the upper flexible member 105. FIG. 6c is an enlargement of detail 6c of FIG. 6b and shows the upper snaps (both right 112a and left 112b) in the stop position, i.e., in a situation where a squeezing force 113 has been applied to the apparatus 100 such that the back movable member 104 has been depressed and the upper flexible member 105 is compressed. When a squeeze force 113 is applied to the apparatus 100, the back movable member 104 pushes up against the upper flexible member 105. Although not pictured in FIG. 6c, in the preferred embodiment, the center flexible member 106 comes into contact with the sensor 109 by means of the sleeve 108 when force 113 is applied.
  • FIG. 7a is a side view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a and FIG. 7b is a sectional view of the apparatus 100 of FIG. 7a taken along line 7b-7b. FIG. 7c is an enlargement of detail 7c of FIG. 7b and shows the upper snaps (both right 112a and left 112b) in the stop position in the event that a rotating squeeze force 114 has been applied to the apparatus 100 such that the back movable member 104 has rotated slightly. When such a rotating squeeze force 114 is applied to the apparatus 100, the back movable member 104 pushes up unevenly against the upper flexible member 105 so that, as seen in FIG. 7c where the rotational force 114 is to the right, the right snap 112a is in the relief position and the left snap 112b is in the stop position. In the event that the back movable member 104 is rotated up or down, a vertical rather than horizontal displacement of the back movable member 104 relative to the apparatus 100 would be noted (not shown). The flexible members 105, 106 and 107 and/or back movable member 104 may collectively act as force shunt. However, in the preferred embodiment, only the force transfer member (described as "center flexible member" 106) directly translates the force to the sensor 109.
  • Referring to FIG. 4b, during an exercise regimen, the user exerts a grip force on the apparatus 100. A force proportional to the grip force is transferred via the back movable member 104, the center flexible member 106 and the sleeve 108 to the sensor 109 and measured by the control system of the apparatus 100. The sensor 109 is seated in the body of the apparatus 100. According to a preferred embodiment, for additional grip support, two additional flexible members (upper 105 and lower 107) are seated in the apparatus 100.
  • For comfort, both the fixed front member 103 and the back movable member 104 are provided with a soft shell 110, preferably a polymer shell, covering a rigid core 111, preferably a polymer core, as seen in FIG. 3b. The rigid core 111 also can consist of a metal or a natural fiber. The soft polymer shell 110 is the surface that interfaces with the hand of the user. The soft polymer shell 110 can also consist of a synthetic (e.g., rubber or foam) or a natural fiber. Furthermore, comfort is also ensured by virtue of the flexible members, including the upper 105, center 106 and lower 107 flexible members, which provide a "springy" feel to the apparatus 100 and ensure greater comfort and accordingly, greater compliance with the exercise regimen. Compliance is further accomplished by allowing the back movable member 104 to displace (travel a certain distance) towards the apparatus 100 when a squeeze force is applied. Displacement of the back movable member 104 towards the apparatus 100 is achieved by means of the flexible members 105, 106 and 107 and by allowing a gap to exist between back movable member 104 and the apparatus 100. Friction between the apparatus 100 and the flexible members 105, 106 and 107 can be reduced by housing, wholly or partially, any of the flexible members in a corresponding sleeve (e.g., 108). Use of a sleeve may also serve to limit the range of motion of the flexible member housed therein.
  • As mentioned above, additional comfort is provided during isometric exercise by allowing a certain amount of right/left and/or up/down rotational movement of the back movable member 104. Right/left rotation is accomplished by placing the flexible members 105, 106 and 107 along the centerline of the back movable member 104. Right/left rotational freedom can be further facilitated by providing clearance cuts behind the snaps 112a and 112b in the apparatus 100. Up/down rotation is accomplished by the elastic nature of the upper and lower flexible members 105, 106 and 107. Up/down rotational freedom may be further facilitated by providing clearance cuts behind the snaps 112a and 112b in apparatus 100. Housing the center flexible member 106 in a sleeve 108 ensures that the force applied to the back movable member 104 is always centered and perpendicular to the sensor 109 surface in case of rotated grip positions either left/right and/or up/down.
  • The center flexible member 106 is seated in the sleeve 108 and the sleeve 108 is in turn seated in the apparatus 100 and tightly guided by a sleeve guide 115 as seen in FIG. 2. The arrangement of the center flexible member 106, sleeve 108 and sleeve guide 115 supports the force transfer to the sensor 109 with minimum possible friction losses that may occur as a result of deformation of the flexible members 105, 106 and 107 or grip rotation.
  • In use, the grip force applied to the back movable member 104 is transferred through the center 106, lower 107 and upper 105 flexible members. Therefore, only a proportional fraction of the actual grip force is directly transferred to the sensor by the center flexible member 106. FIG. 12 is a schematic showing the force transfers, including the loads present in the apparatus of the present invention. Due to the relative short duration of the applied squeeze force, creep or setting of the force transmitting flexible member, i.e., the center elastomer bumper 106, can be considered negligible. Therefore, based on FIG. 12, the force equilibrium can be described as follows: F G = F Bl + F S + F Bu - 2 F P
    Figure imgb0001
    F Bl + F Bu = F S
    Figure imgb0002
    wherein c' is a fractional constant
  • Accordingly, Eq. 1 can be rewritten as: F G = F S + F S - 2 F P = F S 1 + - 2 F P
    Figure imgb0003
  • Eq. 3 can again be rewritten as: F G = C t ʹ F S - 2 F P
    Figure imgb0004
    if C t ʹ = 1 +
    Figure imgb0005
  • The force FS transmitted to the sensor is then: F S = F G + 2 F P / C t ʹ
    Figure imgb0006
  • Eq. 6 can be rewritten as: F S = C t F G + 2 F P
    Figure imgb0007
    if C t = C t ʹ
    Figure imgb0008
    wherein Ct is the force transfer factor.
  • The force transfer factor Ct of the entire system is determined by experimentation, and then implemented in the code that calculates the grip force from the sensor output voltage. Fp varies due to manufacturing and material related factors. Furthermore, Fp can change during initial usage of the device (break-in period). In order to ensure force measurements of sufficient accuracy and reproducibility, Fp is measured by the electronics of the device prior to each use, and electronically set to zero.
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram of the hardware employed with the preferred apparatus 100 of FIG. Ia. As can be seen in FIG. 8, battery 116 communicates through the control system power button 117, i.e., the "on" button, which in turn activates the power supply 118. The power supply 118 powers a timing device 119, preferably an oscillator such as a clock. The power supply 118 also powers the processor 120 portion of the control system, which in turn controls a user interface driver 121 (display driver) that provides an audible notification, i.e., a buzzer, and/or a visual display 122, i.e., a liquid crystal display. The control system also employs an analog to digital converter (A/D converter) 123 that converts the force applied to the sensor 109 from analog to digital, i.e., binary number. The A/D converter 123 communicates with amplifier 124 that amplifies the output signal 125 from the load cell, i.e., the sensor 109. Thus, as a force is applied to the device, the dynamometer portion of the control system converts the force applied from a mechanical force into a form useable by the processor 120 for user feedback and guidance.
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing a procedure employed by the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a. As seen in FIG. 9, once the user has applied the maximum squeeze force 900, the apparatus records the maximum squeeze force as a relative number and displays this number on the display 901. The user is then prompted to apply a fractional force 902, which is a percentage of the maximum force. According to a preferred embodiment, the fractional force is about 15% to about 60%, preferably about 25% to about 55%, and more preferably about 30% if the time period of the exercise is longer, i.e., 12 minutes, and more preferably about 50% if the time period of the exercise is shorter, i.e., 7 or 8 minutes. As seen in FIG. 9, the constant "K" is the fractional force.
  • FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing an exercise regimen carried out by the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a, wherein maximum squeeze force is measured on the right hand first 1001, followed by a rest period 1002. Then the maximum squeeze force is measured on the left hand 1003, followed by a rest period 1004. Then the right hand and left hand are alternatively used to squeeze to a fractional force 1005 and 1007, with rest periods 1006 between each fractional squeeze force effort 1005 and 1007. According to a preferred embodiment, the right and left hand are alternated to a fractional squeeze force for at least about two (2) repetitions and for at most about five (5) repetitions. According to the present invention, the higher the number of repetitions, the lower the fractional force exerted should be. Likewise, the longer amount of time the fractional squeeze force is held, the lower the fractional squeeze force may be. In a preferred embodiment, the final score 1008 is an average of the right hand and left hand maximum squeeze force 1001 and 1003. It is understood, however, that the exercise could be started with the left hand instead of the right hand, as long as each hand is alternated during the exercise regimen.
  • FIG. 11a is a graph displaying the force applied to the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a pursuant to an exercise regimen and FIG. 11b is a graph displaying the force applied to the apparatus 100 of FIG. 1a pursuant to an exercise regimen wherein the force is variable. As seen in FIGs. 11a and 11b, in each case, the resting squeeze force (RSF) is preferably zero.
  • Example 1: 12 minute protocol, wherein the fractional squeeze force is about 28% to about 35% of the maximum squeeze force, preferably about 30%. TABLE 1 Time Maximum squeeze force, first hand 3 seconds Rest 10 seconds Maximum squeeze force, second hand 3 seconds Rest 10 seconds Fractional squeeze force, first hand 2 minutes Rest 1 minute Fractional squeeze force, second hand 2 minutes Rest 1 minute Fractional squeeze force, first hand 2 minutes Rest 1 minute Fractional squeeze force, second hand 2 minutes End of exercise
  • Example 2: 7 minute protocol, wherein the fractional squeeze force is about 35% to about 55% of the maximum squeeze force, preferably about 50%. TABLE 2 Time Maximum squeeze force, first hand 3 seconds Rest 10 seconds Maximum squeeze force, second hand 3 seconds Rest 10 seconds Fractional squeeze force, first hand 90 seconds Rest 1 minute Fractional squeeze force, second hand 90 seconds Rest 1 minute Fractional squeeze force, first hand 90 seconds Rest 1 minute Fractional squeeze force, second hand 90 seconds End of exercise
  • Having now described a few embodiments of the invention, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the foregoing is merely illustrative and not limiting, having been presented by way of example only. It can be appreciated that variations to the present invention would be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the present claims are intended to include those alternatives.
  • Further, since numerous modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • It is obvious from the description or nature of the invention the way in which the invention is capable of exploitation in the medical industry, and the way in which the invention disclosed herein can be made or used. Specifically, one of the uses of the invention disclosed is directed to isometric exercise that safely reduces resting blood pressure and increases overall cardiovascular health.

Claims (14)

  1. A handheld exercise apparatus (100) comprising:
    a) a handle;
    b) said handle comprising at least one movable member (104) that is simultaneously movable along multiple axes, and at least one flexible member (105, 106, 107) disposed between a fixed member (103) of said apparatus and said movable member (104), wherein said at least one flexible member (105, 106, 107) permits said movable member (104) to move along said axes relative to said fixed member (103), and wherein said movable member (104) and said at least one flexible member (105, 106, 107) shunt forces applied to said apparatus;
    c) a sensor (109), wherein forces applied to said apparatus (100) are translated to said sensor (109);
    d) a visual display member (101) mounted on said handle to display information during an exercise;
    e) a control system (120) incorporated within said apparatus (100) to handle at least squeeze force and time parameters of said exercise; and
    f) a sleeve (108), wherein said apparatus (100) is characterised in that said at least one flexible member comprises at least an upper flexible member (105), a center flexible member (106), and a lower flexible member (107), wherein said center flexible member (106) is at least partially housed within said sleeve (108) which functions to translate a multiaxial force applied to said moveable member (104) into a uniaxial force to said sensor (109), and wherein each said flexible member comprises a compressible member being one of an elastic polymer, a spring, an air bladder and an encapsulated fluid.
  2. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein only said center flexible member (106) directly transfers said uniaxial force to said sensor.
  3. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein each of said upper flexible member (105), said center flexible member (106), and said lower flexible member (107) transfer said uniaxial force to said sensor (109).
  4. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said apparatus provides audible cues to a person in carrying out an exercise.
  5. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said handheld exercise apparatus (100) is an isometric exercise apparatus (100) for measuring isometric contractions of a muscle or group of muscles in the body, and said isometric exercise is a form of physical therapy or a group of physical therapies, wherein said isometric exercise apparatus (100) allows for an increased sustainable period of compression of said handle by distributing load over substantially all of an area of a hand in contact with said handle during isometric contractions.
  6. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said handheld exercise apparatus (100) is an isometric exercise apparatus (100) for measuring isometric contractions of a muscle or group of muscles in the body, and said isometric exercise is a form of physical therapy or a group of physical therapies, wherein said isometric exercise apparatus (100) communicates said at least squeeze force and time parameters to remote systems via a communications means.
  7. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said handheld exercise apparatus (100) communicates said squeeze force and time parameters to remote systems via a communications means.
  8. The apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said sleeve (108) reduces friction between said fixed member (103) and said flexible member (106) and limits range of motion, and said sensor (109) comprises a load cell
  9. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said handheld exercise apparatus (100) comprises a back member which comprises said movable member (104), wherein said back member is comprised of a rubberized surface and configured to minimize point pressure on a user's hand.
  10. The self-contained handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said handheld exercise apparatus (100) comprises a front member which comprises said fixed member (103), wherein the front member is comprised of a rubberized surface and configured to minimize point pressure on a user's hand.
  11. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said movable member (104) comprises a rigid core (111) and a soft shell (110), wherein said rigid core (111) is selected from the group consisting of a synthetic, a metal, and a natural fiber and the soft shell (110) is selected from the group consisting of a synthetic and a natural fiber, wherein the synthetic comprises a rubber or foam.
  12. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said sensor (109) generates an output signal based on a force applied to said movable member (104).
  13. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, further comprising at least one perceptible indicia, wherein said perceptible indicia displays a signal correlative to an output signal said perceptible indicia comprising at least one of a visual display on said visual display member, an audio signal, and a tactile signal, wherein said tactile signal comprises at least one of a vibration and a feedback force.
  14. The handheld exercise apparatus (100) of claim 1, wherein said movable member (104) is further capable of rotational movement and said multiple axes extend along each of lateral, longitudinal and vertical directions.
EP07862541.5A 2006-12-05 2007-12-04 Apparatus for carrying out protocol-based isometric exercise regimen Expired - Fee Related EP2089120B1 (en)

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US11/634,834 US7699757B2 (en) 2006-12-05 2006-12-05 Apparatus, system and method for carrying out protocol-based isometric exercise regimen
PCT/US2007/024903 WO2008070114A2 (en) 2006-12-05 2007-12-04 Apparatus, system and method for carrying out protocol-based isometric exercise regimen

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US7739910B2 (en) 2010-06-22
EP2089120A2 (en) 2009-08-19
WO2008070114A2 (en) 2008-06-12
PL2089120T3 (en) 2016-08-31
ES2572649T3 (en) 2016-06-01
EP2089120A4 (en) 2010-09-08
US20080132388A1 (en) 2008-06-05
KR20090095640A (en) 2009-09-09
KR101412712B1 (en) 2014-06-30
JP5580596B2 (en) 2014-08-27
US7975543B2 (en) 2011-07-12
US7699757B2 (en) 2010-04-20
US20100255957A1 (en) 2010-10-07
US20090131229A1 (en) 2009-05-21
JP2010511480A (en) 2010-04-15
WO2008070114A3 (en) 2009-01-22

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